Specialist Lowestoft store proving to be a hit in town
- Credit: Mick Howes
There are not many stores where all items are made on site by a registered professional woodturner and available to buy for a reasonable price.
But this is exactly what Darren Breeze has been doing for the past four years on Lowestoft's high street, transforming wood into wood finishing's and also doing furniture and antique repairs and selling oils, waxes and tools/DIY items for woodturners, ranging from around £5 up to £2,000.
Mr Breeze also travels to work fairs up and down the country to sell his large array of products.
Mr Breeze moved in to the store in 2018 during the height of the Beast from the East and lives above his shop - leaving and breathing his hobby of woodturning.
Working previously in the building trade, he decided to follow his passion and create handmade items for locals and visitors to the town.
He talked about the benefits of developing his products on site: "Nothing I do is mass produced," he said.
"Nearly all the work I do is using native timbers and it is all local timber from around East Anglia.
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"Usually I use old trees that have come to the end of their life or ones that are growing too big next to a house."
Mr Breeze went on to discuss the importance of local independent businesses to high streets like Lowestoft's.
"I think the change in Lowestoft's high street over the past four years has been rather staggering," he said.
"A lot of new independents have opened up in what were once empty small units.
"I wouldn't say we are all thriving but we are managing.
"Footfall is still quite low up at this end of town and all the big retailers are moving out and away from London Road North.
"But I think the future of the high street is more centred around independent restaurants, shops and cafes, so it seems to be turning a positive corner.
"People are coming up and spending a bit more time up here and when they do come up they are surprised about the positive change over the past 10 years.
"I think this section of Lowestoft will thrive and become the cultural quarter of the town soon."